How to clean a washing machine

By Ellie Reeves | 12th September 2022 | 7 min read

Washing machine cleaning and maintenance tips

A washing machine is essential in a busy household. It saves us from wasting precious hours washing clothes by hand, so we can focus on other jobs. In fact, we’d argue that it’s the most important household appliance (except perhaps an air fryer). We rely on our washing machines to clean our dirty clothes, but we mustn’t forget that washing machines need cleaning too.

The average UK household runs a wash cycle anywhere between three to five times a week. Naturally, the more often you use your washer, the more mould and limescale will begin to build up and fester. Without regular maintenance, your washing machine will start to get grimy – fast.

Is your washing machine starting to smell a bit musty? If so, we’re on hand to help. Discover the best way to clean a washing machine for a fresh load of laundry every time. We’ll also show you how to maintain your washer to avoid any bigger problems from bubbling up in the future.

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How to clean your washing machine

It’s essential that you thoroughly clean each element of your washing machine to ensure grime and mould doesn’t build up. Find out how to clean the outside and inside of your washing machine effectively…

How to clean your washing machine drum

Grime and germs can build up quickly within your washing machine drum. We suggest cleaning the drum every couple of months to keep bacteria at bay. Put one glass of white wine vinegar directly into your drum and run an empty wash at a high temperature of 60-70 degrees, or use a professional washing machine cleaner.

How to clean your detergent drawer

The washing detergent tray can be a breeding ground for germs. Detergent gel or powder can accumulate easily and become encrusted in the drawer and eventually turn into mould. To give it a deep clean, remove the drawer (check the manual of your washing machine to find out how to do this). Soak the drawer in hot water for an hour or until the residue has soaked off. Scrub off any stubborn bits with an old toothbrush.

How to clean the seals on your washing machine

The rubber seal between your door and drum is what stops water from spilling onto your utility or kitchen floor. It’s also a utopia for dirt and grime, as it is often ignored and rarely wiped clean. To limit the accumulation of dirt and mould, give the rubber seal a gentle wipe with a cloth at the end of every wash cycle. As long as you remember to do this after every cycle, you won’t need to do much else to keep your washing machine seal clean.

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How to clean your washing machine filter

First off, you need to locate your filter. If you have a front-loading machine, the filter will most probably be on the bottom right-hand side. If you can’t find your filter, check your user manual. Remove the cover and take out the filter. Use a cloth or old toothbrush to clean off any dirt. If you don’t clean the filter regularly, it could cause result in a water leak. We suggest cleaning the washing machine filter every four months to ensure it doesn’t become overloaded with dirt.

How to clean your washing machine door

Wipe down the exterior of your washing machine using a multi-purpose cleaner and microfibre cloth. With the help of someone else, move the washer away from the wall to clean the back of it and hoover up any dirt. There’s a 99% chance you’ll find the odd sock or glove you’ve been searching the house for.

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5 tips for maintaining your washing machine

Read these tips to keep your clothes fresh and to prevent any bad washing machine smells from lingering in your kitchen…

1. Remove clothes straight away at the end of a cycle. Set yourself a reminder to get your clothes out of the drum as soon as the cycle has finished. Also, try to leave the door open at the end of a cycle, doing so will help to limit the amount of moisture building up causing mould and germs to fester.

2. Check the hoses. It’s a good idea to check the hoses for general wear and tear, such as cracks or bulges. We suggest giving them a look over every couple of months. And keep a look out for any leaks at the end of each washing cycle.

3. Use the recommended amount of detergent. Steady on with the detergent. You might think that using more detergent will make your clothes cleaner and fresher, but in actual fact, you’ll get the opposite result. Using too much soap will leave residue on your clothes and in the detergent drawer, causing germs to populate. Plus, you’re literally throwing money down the drain.

4. Always read the user manual. Before you use your machine or attempt to fiddle with different parts of it, you should always read the manual. There may be features that you don’t know about that you could make us of. Some smart washing machines have an automatic release for the detergent which uses the exact amount that is needed for each wash type.

5. Check and clean the filter. The washing machine filter will stop any loose bits from your pockets (tissues, coins, receipts, etc.) making their way into the pump. You should check your filter every four months. Use a paper towel to clean the residue, or if the layer of residue is quite thick, use an old toothbrush to clean it.

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